A Panoramic View of Balinese Paintings, influenced by Walter Spies

As widely known, among Westerners who arrived on Bali were already established European and American artists, including Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet and Arie Smit. They brought with them Western background and tools such as water colors, oil paints, precut paper and canvas.

Walter Spies is one of the founders of Pita Maha (artist’s organization founded in 1935). All members of this organization learnt from each other. Balinese artists was able to enrich their knowledge of art by adding something of the Western painting techniques such as principle of perspective and the use of light and shadow to create depth to their works.

In return, Western artist was able to add something of the Balinese style and techniques to their own work.

I Gusti Agung Wiranata (b.1969) is known as a regeneration of Walter Spies styli with his own theme. He grew up in an artist family. His late father’s work was inspired by Spies’s style. At a very young age of 11, he helped his farther brought his artworks to some galleries. He experienced the rejections and the difficulties in making extra money through art. His farther, who passed away when he was 12, strongly forbid him to be an artist.

Apparently art has run strongly in his vein. He keep painting following his father’s style. Before too long, his two siblings join him. He then taught his older sister Galuh and younger brother Kepakisan.

Beside the details, Wiranata’s strength is in capturing light and shadow creating a beautiful panoramic view of art.


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